Ssh... wanna buy an university?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Mac Juli, Oct 11, 2020.

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  1. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Where is this one found, Dustin? I found an "Alpha" school in Hargeisa, Somalia with a non-working site. Another in Ethiopia - not the one described. Yet another, www.alphauniversity.us that doesn't award degrees - just teaches you how to trade stocks etc. and get rich. It's not for sale, apparently - and the owner, Mr. Chris Stanford, I'm glad to see, has the wisdom not to call his school "Stanford University."

    I want to know more about this alpha-for-sale. Can you give us a link? By all means disguise it a bit, if you don't want to help its SEO.
     
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Active Member

    Sure, alphauniversity dot education. They claim religious exemption under FLDOE, but their website isn't working well in my browser so none of the drop-downs work (to see things like the answers to their FAQ questions.) WHOIS data indicates the domain was just registered in July.

    Genesis University, the one mentioned in the original post has had its price drop from 129K to 55K and is being sold on the same site, with the same language (including the exact wording on its Florida religious exemption.) It was only registered in May. I think there may be a "business plan" going on here where they stand up numerous near-identical universities in a state with limited regulation and then try to sell them wholesale, without necessarily having ever enrolled students.

    They claim to award the gamut from Bachelor's to Doctorates.

    What I think is the FL-approved school search website is terribly slow so I haven't been able to see if Genesis or Alpha are on the list: https://web02.fldoe.org/CIE/SearchSchools/SchoolSearch.aspx
     
    Johann likes this.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Looks like people are selling fast-food: microwave-prepared shell corporations ... complete with pre-mixed Florida approval? Hmmm... big profit margins, if it works ...
     
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    It's working now, Dustin. At least it is, on my laptop. I'm using Ubuntu + Chromium Browser. 100% online, 75% credit transfer, 30-day Intensive courses, 1 Christian University. Zero Tuition. All degrees - Associates to Doctorates are religious in nature - no "Church MBAs" or other weaseling.

    My suspicions are unfounded. Just another religious-exempt school, it appears. Good luck to them. Not my demographic, but for others -- why not?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    The FAQ was working too. They're tuition-free, free textbooks too. They say that's sustainable for them as there is a fee per course to cover their costs. Those fees can be found here. https://alphauniversity.education/tuition/ I assume the application fee ~$150 is once per degree - not per course. Fee-per-course is $15 per credit hour and $20 per credit hour for graduate study. Transfer credit (undergrad) gets logged in at $12 per credit hour.
     
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Whoa, wait a minute! You said you saw this FOR SALE. The school's own site didn't say that (of course). That would make my original theory hold water - possibly. If this "new school" is already under the warming lights, ready-wrapped to go - then it's a whole different ballgame. A $55K fast-food order?

    But who would ever order a school with that specific a mixture of (low cost) trimmings already added? Or maybe they change 'em ALL for a new owner --- anything's possible I guess. Yep. Anything. Thanks. I'm back to square 1.
     
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Or maybe this is just the beta version of Alpha. :) Release 1.0 is coming sometime.... maybe it will be called "Gamma University." Then Delta, Epsilon, Zeta etc. Like a sorority phone book. This could go on for a while. Wake me when it's Omega U. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
    Dustin likes this.
  8. Dustin

    Dustin Active Member

    Right, if someone thought they were buying a school with a history and recurring revenue, only to find out they were buying a school founded 4 months ago it might change the equation a bit.

    Bait and switch or bait and ditch?
     
    Johann likes this.
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Right - but for $55K wouldn't a prospective purchaser at least want someone competent to look at the books? To make sure they're not um..."cooked" of course? I think "caveat emptor" was the most important phrase I ever learned in Latin class.
     
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    Religious Degrees have their niche market. Some of us take them just for personal development but i found cheaper options at places like Udemy or the centre of excellence that just award a certificate of achievement. I see them as diplomas that can have some value if you are interested in a religious career. Many denominations accept unaccredited religious degrees for ordination purposes. If am just interested in being a minister at a small denomination, I don't think it is justified to spend 40K in my education when the purpose of this is just to serve at a church with no salary.

    The problem is abuse, the main market for religious Doctorates is self employed professionals such as psychotherapist, hypnotherapist ,etc. Most of these professions only need training but the PhD just makes them look for legit. I can get a PhD in Christian Psychology with little work from a religious school and then put it in my business card legally. If my customer wants to sue me because deceptive practice, I am covered as my degree was legally granted.


    Bottom line is intention, if I set up a legit religious school with the intention to train people for a ministerial career, most likely I will not grant PhDs but just diplomas. However, if my intention is to make money, I would upgrade these diplomas into PhDs so they can look attractive otherwise few people would be interested but only those who really want to be ministers that perhaps is just a handful.

    There are many legit religious schools that just grant diplomas for ordination purposes and many are free, so we can not generalize and state that all these programs are useless.

    As there are too many options to get education nowadays, I wouldnt run to buy a university that grants religious degrees or operates from Dominica. Some religious schools find their nice as they specialize in hypnotherapy, holistic, etc and if they add value to the individual taking them, they serve a purpose but I dont see millions of people getting these degrees so I think this kind of businesses would not be very popular anymore.
     
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    Yes, but most of these programs that are TRACS accredited are very expensive. It makes sense to pay 40K for a MDiv if I aiming at becoming a minister at a Protestant church with a salary of 50K a year as a minister. However, if I am aiming at serving at my local non denominational church as a volunteer with no salary, I am not going to get a TRACS accredited degree and pay 40K for a MDiv but maybe get an online bible college diploma that can help me to become ordained.


    Again, the bottom line here is abuse. Religious schools were meant to train people to serve in religious roles and not to deceive people into making them believe that you spent 10 years getting your PhD when it took 1 year. This could be easily solved if the regulation would forbid religious schools to grant degrees with titles that can be confused with secular ones and be limited to MDiv, DDiv, BDiv and not MBA, PhD, MSc, etc.

    The most clear case of abuse is Breyer State University that grants an Ethereal MBA. Not only the name of University is meant to deceive by using the word "State University" but also the school is bypassing the law by using the term "Ethereal" that seems to be just to make them look religious but if you look at the content, it is a traditional MBA.

    https://breyerstate.com/ethereal-accelerated-masters-in-business-administration/

    Some people go for these programs for different reasons such as cost, time, etc but obviously the intention is non ethical.

    There are other titles such as MBA in Metaphysical Business, EdD in Metaphysical Education, PhD in Christian Psychology, PhD is Organizational Metaphysical Leadership, etc.
     
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Are they? I know a lot of people here took notice of how inexpensive VUL's $15K doctorate in healthcare administration is, for example: https://www.vul.edu/dha/
     
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Interesting, but how this DHA is going to help me to become a minister? It seems that this school is following the same approach of some of the religious schools that use a religious accreditation to offer a secular degree.

    15 or 10 or even 5K is more than free. What I mean is that if someone wants to be a religious volunteer worker, most of the training available is free but it would not lead to a PhD, MBA, DHA or any kind of degree that is meant for the secular world.
     
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    It isn't. It's not designed to. Apostilles and oranges. We are contrasting the price structures of accredited and unaccredited schools here. The same parameters don't apply. TRACS can accredit schools that teach secular programs along with the religious ones. Difference: Religious-exempt (unaccredited) schools are NOT allowed to offer secular programs - no, not even the camouflaged "Church MBAs," let alone a DHA.

    Why are you even asking if the DHA will help you become a minister? Of course it won't. It's a TRACS school. They can accredit schools with other-than-religious programs on the menu. Oops, I already said that. If you want free or really cheap, the unaccredited religious-exempt degrees are the logical choice. Unless there's a Groupon deal I don't know about.

    And yes - Breyer State has been exploiting most loopholes / regulations for over 20 years. It's probably invented um...workarounds for regulations that don't even exist. In Idaho, Alabama, California, Idaho again, Panama and now Florida. It's famous for doing .... um, what it does.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    BTW - I think these "Ethereal degrees" are causing some problems in the Ether. The tinfoil lining in my Toronto Maple Leafs toque has been picking up signals of grumbling....
    Another long Canadian winter. And this one is ....special. :(

    And if you'd like to know more about Breyer State - here's the wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breyer_State_University
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020

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